At least 11,600 square miles (30,000 square km) of sea bed around Indonesia is covered by seagrasses. In the warm, shallow lagoons and bays, 12 species of seagrass flourish. Gerupuk Bay in the south of the island of Lombok contains 11 of the 12 Indonesian seagrass species, with Enhalus acoroides and Thalassodendron ciliatum forming dense stands. Analyses of the gut contents of fish that live among seagrass in Lombok’s waters revealed that crustaceans were the dominant food source. However, a species of Tozeuma shrimp found there avoids the attention of predators by having an elongated body colored green with small white spots, a perfect camouflage against seagrass leaves. At low tide, local people use sharp iron stakes to dig for intertidal organisms, and this damages the seagrass leaves and roots, thereby threatening the survival of the beds.
Threat from tourism
The islands of Southeast Asia contain the greatest diversity of seagrasses in the world, but human activity threatens them in many places. Tourism is a means of bringing a much-needed boost to many local economies and this necessitates the building of hotels and other tourist facilities in previously unspoiled areas.